<i>The Smiling Lieutenant.</i> 1931. USA. Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
  • The Smiling Lieutenant

    1931. USA. Ernst Lubitsch. 88 min.

Monday, April 14, 2014, 8:00 p.m.

Theater 1 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 1), T1

  • The Smiling Lieutenant

    1931. USA. Directed by Ernst Lubitsch. With Maurice Chevalier, Claudette Colbert, Miriam Hopkins. Adapted by the great Samson Raphaelson and Ernest Vadja from the same 1907 Strauss operetta as Ludwig Berger’s Ein Walzertraum, Lubitsch’s sublimely executed pre-Code marriage comedy helped pioneer the development of the Hollywood sound musical. Against the backdrop of Paramount’s Astoria Studios in Queens—standing in for imperial Vienna—the dashing Austrian Lieutenant Nikolaus "Niki" von Preyn (Chevalier) tries to elude the amorous advances of the prim Princess Anna of neighboring Flausenthurm while secretly, hopelessly smitten with Franzi, a fun-loving beer garden violinist who stands to lose the most in this reluctant love triangle. Though Lubitsch’s own marriage was in tatters and Miriam Hopkins and Claudette Colbert famously sparred on set—the director used their rivalry to devilish effect on screen—the film was a popular and critical smash hit, paving the way for Lubitsch’s other successful collaborations with Hopkins, Trouble in Paradise and Design for Living. Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive; courtesy NBC Universal Distribution 88 min.

In the Film exhibition Vienna Unveiled: A City in Cinema

Ticketing policies for film screenings

Sign up for now to receive MoMA's biweekly Film E-News